Student Support Services

Student Support Services Mission Statement

Working together, the school nurses, counselors, and learning specialists make up the Student Support Services Group (SSS). The group formed from a mutual need for communication, support, and program development. The group works with parents, students, faculty, and staff to provide education, information, and resources. SSS proactively provides education on a variety to topics, in addition, the group responds to crises affecting the community.

With an eye toward the development of preschool-Grade 12 health support and education, the group works collaboratively to identify areas of need and the resources necessary to fill such needs. SSS serves as a means of communication between faculty, staff, parents, students and administration. SSS members serve as support and resources to the individual divisions and support personnel.

FLEX Program

The Flex Program at Sandy Spring Friends School is a student support program that aims to elevate the efficacy of learners by providing instruction in the skills that matter most for school and life success. These skills include executive function skills (ex. organization and time management strategies), critical thinking and problem solving skills, and metacognitive skills. Instruction in these skills are delivered within the context of the SSFS program, so that students are applying the skills to enhance their understanding of class concepts; to plan, prepare for, and execute long term assignments and assessments;  and to complete nightly homework.

The Flex Program boasts a small student-to-teacher ratio, maintaining no more than 6 students for every one strategist to ensure individualized attention. Individual attention to a student’s desired goals for the program are achieved through a pre-assessment and interview as well as periodic progress assessments, and goal monitoring throughout the program.

Flex Afterschool
The Flex Afterschool Program at Sandy Spring Friends School provides support for students in two different time frames in order to accommodate the various extra-curricular schedules of SSFS students and families. Students can attend immediately after school, from 4:00 - 5:45 pm, or after dinner from 7:00 - 8:45 pm. Dinner is included with the program. 

Flex After school sessions are currently offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Enrollment for the program aligns with the Athletic Calendar’s Trimester system to coincide with shifts in after school commitments.  Online registration is available to current students.

Flex Day (New for 2018-19!)

Flex Day implements the same model as the afterschool program but provides the support embedded within the rotating class periods of the school day. Strategist-student ratio remains at 1:6 or lower, and the focus is on building metacognitive skills and executive function skills within the context of the Sandy Spring Program. Typically, the student would replace a free period with a Flex class, since Flex time can be committed to planning, organizing, and completing upcoming work. Additionally, Flex Day can provide time for a student to arrange and seek out support from subject-specific teachers as they are available. 

Sessions for Flex Day are held every day that a student’s assigned class period meets* (every day except one per cycle). Enrollment for the program aligns with the academic calendar’s quarter system to allow for changes based on student growth and performance. 

Student Support Services at SSFS

  • consists of the nurses, the learning specialists, and the counselors
  • aims to assist students requiring help
  • strives to maintain confidentiality in all forms, including electronic and written communication, conferences and phone conversations as outlined in the community handbook
  • serves the student resource teams in the appropriate divisions and seeks out the advice of these teams when necessary
  • addresses many health, learning, and counseling issues
  • provides referrals to outside resources including therapists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, academic tutors, and/or organizational tutors when situations arise beyond the capabilities of the student support position
  • examines educational and psychological testing and assists families
  • meets regularly to address the physical, mental, social and educational needs of the school community
  • develops the Health and Wellness program by writing curriculum, teaching Life Skills classes, arranging appropriate speakers, and providing written supportive materials


The two registered nurses (RNs) work with students in each division offering the following core services:

  • yearly hearing and vision screening
  • generalized healthcare
  • monitoring of chronic health conditions
  • oversight of all health records
  • symptomatic assessments and follow-up care
  • delivery of health curriculum
  • liaison between student, school and medical professionals/ specialists

Learning Specialists

The learning specialists in all divisions offer the following core services:

  • consultation with parents, students, teachers, and outside professionals about learning needs
  • help the teachers implement recommendations and accommodations
  • faculty/student workshops about how students learn and study
  • assistance with the identification of learning differences
  • development of strategies with students to help them adapt to their learning styles
  • offering referrals to outside resources (tutors, speech and language therapists, psycho/educational testing services, etc.)

School Counselors

There is a counselor in each division of the school, and in our residential life program. The academic training of our counselors includes social work and school counseling. School counselors offer the following core services:

  • individual and group counseling
  • conflict resolution, life transition counseling, and assistance with cultural adjustments
  • teach grade appropriate health and life skills classes addressing topics such as social, emotional, and physical development
  • support teachers in working with students and families
  • educate students, parents and faculty about mental health concerns
  • act as a student advocate
  • refer to mental health providers in the community

Supports for the Boarding and International Student Program

The Upper School boarding program and international student program have unique needs and receive additional support including the following:

Registered Nurses

  • provide health and medical oversight of all dorm students
  • refer students to local medical specialists as needed
  • oversee immunizations
  • oversee international student insurance
  • offer health consultations with parents and guardians of dorm students

Dormitory Counselor

  • provides monthly classes on adolescent health and wellness topics
  • oversees student safety and well being
  • oversees study and social program
  • trained medical technicians

Learning Specialists

  • are available to assist students with learning issues
  • provides referrals for tutors and educational testing


  • College counselors guide the search and application process
  • US Counselor teaches Life Skills Course to 9th Graders and provides counseling to students during the school day